An Introduction to the Endocannabinoid System

endocannabinoid system

Believe it or not, the first endocannabinoid was only fairly recently discovered. For years, scientists have connected clues and questions that have swirled around how exactly cannabis and its compounds affect our bodies. 

In 1992, Czech chemist Lumír Hanuš discovered the first endocannabinoid in the human brain – anandamide, which is the Sanskrit term for bliss. This discovery of anandamide proved to Hanuš that the brain produces its own cannabinoids, which bind to other receptors throughout the body. 

From there, other researchers continued to discover cannabinoids in cannabis as well as their counterparts in our bodies. 

The endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in regulating our inner workings. Learning its purpose — in combination with the impact of cannabinoids in general — can help us as cannabis consumers to find better health outcomes and additional benefits from the plant. 


Identifying the Major Roles of the Endocannabinoid System 

Initially, overall, the Endocannabinoid System (also known as the ECS) is broken up into three parts: 

  • Endocannabinoids in the body 
  • Receptors in the nervous system that bond with cannabinoids 
  • Enzymes that break down these endocannabinoids & cannabinoids


First, let’s take a closer look at the Endocannabinoid System itself. Also known as the ECS, this system is crucial for homeostasis within the body. Homeostasis refers to the regulation and balance of bodily functions and reactions. 


Homeostasis & Balance of the Body

Furthermore, for instance, think of how when you drive a car – the engine and machine are running and balancing all of the mechanics that are making the car go. Is the temperature of the engine too hot? How fast is the car accelerating? How hard is the car’s engine working?

The same type of regulation and awareness goes on in our bodies thanks to our ECS. How fast is your heart beating? Do you need fuel, or to rest? Are your hormone levels where they should be? How’s your temperature?  

When something feels off (or out of tune) in your body, endocannabinoids will work to address and correct the issue. 


Receptive Neurotransmitters 

Thirdly – in the brain, cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids act as neurotransmitters to send signals throughout the body, interacting with multiple receptors.

The two main types of cannabis receptors are: 

  • CB1 receptors: Found in the central nervous system, located near the bran and nerves of the spinal cord. 
  • CB2 receptors: Found in the peripheral nervous system, the digestive system, and other specialized cells in the immune system. 


When cannabinoids (consumed from cannabis) are inhaled or ingested, these cannabinoids react with our endocannabinoids to enhance and alter the signals throughout our body and brain. 


Breaking it Down with Enzymes 

Next, once an endocannabinoid has carried out its specific function for the body, enzymes break down these compounds. These two main enzymes of the ECS include: 


Tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as THC) interacts directly with our CB1 receptor in the brain. When this cannabinoid attaches and bonds to endocannabinoids in our body, the enzymes work to break down these cannabinoids. 


The ECS & its Crucial Bodily Functions 

Additionally, the cannabinoids we consume (that bind and react to our ECS and their receptors) also interact with various biological functions modulated by this system.

As a result, the cannabinoids from cannabis and our body’s natural endocannabinoids produce a wide range of benefits, bonds, and reactions. 

Some of the many functions and reactions regulated by the ECS include: 

  • Appetite
  • Digestion
  • Immune function & autoimmune diseases 
  • Inflammation 
  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Reproduction & fertility
  • Motor control
  • Temperature regulation
  • Memory
  • Pain or pleasure 


You may often hear baseline medical claims about the medicinal properties of cannabis. It’s important to remember that further information and studies are needed to prove how the plant can directly alleviate a specific health symptom or claim. 

However, thanks to the discovery of the Endocannabinoid System, science has suggested how the cannabinoids we consume react and interchange with our endogenous cannabinoids. 


Rolling Releaf: Optimizing the ECS Through Cannabis

Finally, as you can see, the endocannabinoid system plays a crucial role in our overall connection with cannabis and its cannabinoids. However the relationship between the two doesn’t just stop there! 

Previously, we touched on the importance of the Entourage Effect. This examined how terpenes and cannabinoids interact with our body and how we can fully optimize the consumption of all cannabinoids for a highly unique cannabis experience. 

At Rolling Releaf, our mission is to provide the most efficient cannabis products and flower to our Boston community. From THC tinctures, edibles, to the finest quality flower in all of Massachusetts – order Rolling Releaf’s cannabis delivery service to optimize your cannabis experience! 


Stay tuned to learn more about Rolling Releaf and what our cannabis delivery services have to offer! Be sure to connect with us on IG to find out the latest about our company and Masscahusetts cannabis industry buzz, news & events!

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